School is about to start or has just begun and we are right in the midst of the back to school madness. Most teachers start the process by gathering ideas for their classroom, revisiting the standards, planning the sequence of the first few weeks of lessons, and getting excited about the “fresh” start. Regardless of your years of experience, here are a few tips to help you ROCK the new school year.
- The start of the school year is a great time to explore new strategies and practices to benefit your students. Many teachers use the summer to search for, think of, and create “new tools” to use with the new class of students. Perhaps this is a great time to – – – Ditch the worksheet a day method. There, I said it. I promise the world will not end and the sun will shine in the morning. – Just do it. If nothing else, use your beginning of the year excitement to bring new energy to your classroom by finding new methods to teach your content that keep you and the students excited.
- One of the first steps to organizing your classroom is to remember it is a “we” environment not a “me” environment. Think of ways you can create structures that allow for collaboration between teacher and student(s). The space belongs to all of you. It will be important for you to setup the organization system, model the use, allow your students to practice, and then support each other to tweak and maintain the system.
Connect with your colleagues.
- We all learn from our peers and whether you have the same teammates on your team or will be working with new teachers. The start of the year is the perfect time to swop ideas and set individual and team goals of how you will have the most impact for this new academic year. Be sure to pick their brains for tips on organization, planning, instructional strategies, assessment, etc. etc. etc.
Keep the Focus.
- Let’s face it, after the first few days of setting up your classroom come the days of PD and meetings and open house and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You have spent the last few days planning and preparing for the school year to suddenly begin feeling overwhelmed by the new initiatives from the school or district you had not yet factored into your last days before the kids return. I challenge you to stay focused and keep the main thing the main thing. Make sure the goals you previously set are guiding the working towards forward movement. Write them out. Share them with your students. Do whatever it takes to stay committed to the plan for student success.
Last but not least – Teach Like a Rockstar!
–from Nakia’s desk